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Squirter
10-01-2007, 10:04 AM
Is it common to see pea gravel or some type of stone in the bottom of a valve box? What is the purpose (other that keeping weeds out)??? My contractor did NOT use any. Should I add???

Also, looking into the valve box, it sure appears to be a great place for someone to do major damage to my system if they were inclined. I can just see a couple of drunk kids or even an angry neighbor pulling up wire by the handfull. Is there a way to place a lock on the lid preventing the "honest vandal" from putting me out of commission???? Is this recommended???

FIMCO-MEISTER
10-01-2007, 10:10 AM
Rarely see gravel in boxes here. Rarely see vandalized valve boxes either. More often I see dogs ripping them to shred in the backyard.

Kiril
10-01-2007, 10:17 AM
Is it common to see pea gravel or some type of stone in the bottom of a valve box? What is the purpose (other that keeping weeds out)??? My contractor did NOT use any. Should I add???

Also, looking into the valve box, it sure appears to be a great place for someone to do major damage to my system if they were inclined. I can just see a couple of drunk kids or even an angry neighbor pulling up wire by the handfull. Is there a way to place a lock on the lid preventing the "honest vandal" from putting me out of commission???? Is this recommended???

Rocks help keep the roots and gophers/ground squirrels out.

Try a security screw if your really concerned about security.

http://www.hudsonfasteners.com/sec/sec_tx_bhpms.htm

Mike Leary
10-01-2007, 04:36 PM
We gravel & lay fine mesh screen on the bottoms....it gives the vb & manifold
a finishing touch..in areas of mole concentration, we'll use a white gypsum
rock that deters the little dears..odd they've NEVER chewed into wiring!

PurpHaze
10-01-2007, 06:02 PM
Gravel seems to be a favorite of landscape architects... and they all seem to be Cal Poly SLO alumni in our area. :)

Personally, and this is dealing only in my particular niche, pea gravel is a real PITA. Gophers will still dig through it.

PurpHaze
10-01-2007, 06:05 PM
BTW... we use bolts (similar to what Kiril posted) that require a special tool to remove on some of our boxes... but like locks, they only keep the honest people honest. Others will just take a shovel and break the box lids if they really want to get inside.

Mike Leary
10-01-2007, 06:19 PM
Gophers will still dig through it.

Mesh, my lad & curve it up thru the cutouts & duck tape the openings.

BrandonV
10-01-2007, 08:18 PM
worse thing we've ever had happen was done by datsun dogs... rotos would pop up and the stinking dogs would attack... chewed them to pieces, if it happens again we're going to try the stainless hunters so they'll chip a tooth. another instance of vandalism is when we had a irrigation sub and a homeowner didn't pay him, he snuck in at night w/ a sledge and needless to say the valve boxes didn't stop him

Mike Leary
10-01-2007, 08:27 PM
ROTFL...we've had that too..all I could say after I figured it out was
"good dog".

irrig8r
10-01-2007, 08:41 PM
Rocks help keep the roots and gophers/ground squirrels out.

I don't see how rocks keep either roots or gophers out. They do provide some drainage when you have a valve apart and flush it, or at least don't make for a muddy mess.

Smaller gravel (pea gravel for instance) is potentially more likely to enter into an opened up valve depending on how low the level of gravel is below the valve, and how much gets dislodged in flushing out a valve.

However, dropped screws, solenoid plungers or other parts are sometimes easier to locate in small gravel. I try to keep at least 4 inches between the bottom of the valve and the level of the gravel.

I've seen Cal Trans specs for a job I was maintaining for a while a few years ago. They used rectangular concrete Christy boxes with haevy wire mesh and 3/4 drain rock. One box per valve. The mesh does keep out the gophers. Gravel or rocks alone will not.

Best way to avoid root damage is not to locate valve boxes within the dripline of an existing tree, and not plant aggressively rooting species nearby (or if you do, use a root barrier.) A partial list (around here) based on my experience would include Alder, Birch, Redwood, Willow, Ash, Mayten, Camphor, Eucalyptus and even Flowering Plum.

irrig8r
10-01-2007, 08:43 PM
worse thing we've ever had happen was done by datsun dogs...

They're not called Datsuns any more. They're Nisshounds.

Mike Leary
10-01-2007, 08:46 PM
Ditto Greg..up here Willow & Laurel do a number..moles the biggie.

WalkGood
10-02-2007, 01:29 AM
They're not called Datsuns any more. They're Nisshounds.

:laugh: :clapping: :laugh:

Ya beat me to it.

Kiril
10-02-2007, 09:13 AM
I don't see how rocks keep either roots or gophers out.

Roots don't grow in a medium that holds no water. In any event, the key word was "helps", I never said it is fail proof. 3/4" crush is better than pea gravel, I too also dislike pea gravel for the same reasons as mentioned. If there is enough rock (pea gravel is worthless) in there, it will help deter the ground diggers. It is the boxes where people only put in a token amount of rock where it does no good. 1/2" depth of rock is a joke, why even bother. When my city put in meters, they put in 1/2" river rock at a depth of about 1/2-1 inch. Needless to say, that is not enough, but then I have yet to open a city meter box that the ground diggers got into.

A partial list (around here) based on my experience would include Alder, Birch, Redwood, Willow, Ash, Mayten, Camphor, Eucalyptus and even Flowering Plum.

Add Sycamore and Bradford pear to that list

PurpHaze
10-02-2007, 09:42 AM
Guess I look at it more from a maintenance "dig-up" aspect and I find gravel, rock and bricks a real PITA when digging up a box.

Kiril
10-02-2007, 10:01 AM
Guess I look at it more from a maintenance "dig-up" aspect and I find gravel, rock and bricks a real PITA when digging up a box.

Totally agree, especially when dealing with angle valves. :) I only rarely use stone in my boxes, it really depends on where they are located.

irrig8r
10-02-2007, 11:47 AM
Guess I look at it more from a maintenance "dig-up" aspect and I find gravel, rock and bricks a real PITA when digging up a box.

Well, maintenance to me is replacing a solenoid or a diaphragm, in which case the right amount of rock far enough below the valve is fine.

Digging up a box is a different story...replacing a valve or leaky fitting that requires excavation...I no longer consider that maintenance...it's serious repairs.

PurpHaze
10-02-2007, 01:35 PM
Well, maintenance to me is replacing a solenoid or a diaphragm, in which case the right amount of rock far enough below the valve is fine.

Digging up a box is a different story...replacing a valve or leaky fitting that requires excavation...I no longer consider that maintenance...it's serious repairs.

Semantics... I guess. "Serious repairs" to us is when we break out the Bobcat. :)

WalkGood
10-02-2007, 02:23 PM
Semantics... I guess. "Serious repairs" to us is when we break out the Bobcat. :)


Uh oh..... time for "my shovel is bigger than your shovel" LOL
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:


All kidding aside, when billing T&M if a box has rocks, mud or snakes it is all billed for the time.

PITA is when the valve box is located UNDER a bay window, blocked tight by mature shrubs and under a layer of 3/4 red rocks and landscape fabric. Might even add a PITA-factor charge depending on how scraped up, cut by branches and muddy I get.

Kiril
10-02-2007, 03:35 PM
Might even add a PITA-factor charge depending on how scraped up, cut by branches and muddy I get.

:laugh: Yea, been known to do that. There is also the POMW-factor and the TOTS-factor that will prompt extra charges. :)

PurpHaze
10-02-2007, 03:41 PM
Uh oh..... time for "my shovel is bigger than your shovel" LOL
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Yup... Jon will prolly start posting his pics of big o' honkin' excavators again. :)

WalkGood
10-02-2007, 03:57 PM
:laugh: Yea, been known to do that. There is also the POMW-factor and the TOTS-factor that will prompt extra charges. :)

We should all aspire to NOT take ourselves too seriously. However I am not familiar with POMW-factor. Too many hits from a google-search that didn't seem likely given your context.

What does it mean, save me from having to ask the neighbors highschool kid.

Kiril
10-02-2007, 04:30 PM
:) You won't find it on Google or at the local highschool.

POMW = Pissed Off in a Major Way
TOTS = Too Old for This S**t

WalkGood
10-02-2007, 04:55 PM
:) You won't find it on Google or at the local highschool.

POMW = Pissed Off in a Major Way
TOTS = Too Old for This S**t


There is one for TOTS = take ourselves too seriously. Thought you meant that one!

I'd love to write a bill some time, listing diagnosis as ID-10-T error found.

Kiril
10-03-2007, 10:07 AM
I'd love to write a bill some time, listing diagnosis as ID-10-T error found.

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: